The government’s chief evidence was a faded application form that prosecutors said Mr. Padilla, 36, filled out to attend a Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan in 2000.Faded. Just an old, faded piece of paper. Injustice -- the idea is planted in the reader's head. And yet what is the evidentiary significance the fadedness of the paper? Nothing, without more. For example, if the prosecution had relied on the fadedness to explain a lack of fingerprints, it would affect the weight we'd give to the paper. But in fact, there were 6 fingerprints!
In paragraph 4, we're told that the jurors, leaving the courthouse, would not speak to the press, but one woman, contacted by phone, said -- in the words of the NYT -- "that she had all but made up her mind before deliberations began." The readers' suspicions of injustice are stoked. Yet really, the juror has admitted nothing wrong here. Why the paraphrase? What did she say?
Do people even click to see what's on page 2?
James Cohen, a law professor at Fordham University, said the fact that the Qaeda training camp form had six of Mr. Padilla’s fingerprints was “overwhelmingly powerful” and had very likely swayed the jurors.Swayed? How about convinced? Do the citizens who served on the jury in a 3-month trial deserve the dispargement implicit in the word "swayed"? (Dictionary definition of sway: "To divert; deflect... To exert influence on or control over.") And, again, why the paraphrase? I take it Professor Cohen did not say "swayed."
I was also struck by this: "After being held in isolation in a military brig in South Carolina for three and a half years, Mr. Padilla (pronounced puh-DEE-yuh) was transferred to civilian custody here last year...." Three questions: 1. Why after all these years are we still being told how to pronounce this man's name? 2. Didn't the defense lawyers inform us that his name was actually pronounced puh-DILL-uh? 3. Are we now being informed it's puh-DEE-yuh because the lawyers decided puh-DEE-yuh will do a better job of exerting influence or control over us?